Press Releases


Senate Passes Landmark Criminal Justice Reform

WASHINGTON - The Senate tonight passed once-in-a-generation reforms to America's prison and sentencing system to reduce recidivism, save taxpayer dollars, and promote safe communities. The bipartisan First Step Act, introduced by Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), uses evidence-based recidivism reduction programs to help inmat… Continue Reading


Durbin: Cotton Amendments To The First Step Act Only Seek To Shatter Bipartisan Compromise

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and lead Democratic sponsor of the First Step Act, today urged his colleagues to vote against the amendment to the First Step Act being offered by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and John Kennedy (R-LA). In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin argued that this amendment is a poison pill designed to gut the prison reforms in the First Step Act and shatter this bipartisan compromise. Durbin, along… Continue Reading


Durbin, Grassley Statement On Senate's Consideration Of The First Step Act

WASHINGTON - Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) made the following statement on the Senate's 82-12 vote tonight to hold debate and a final vote on the First Step Act this week: "I am glad that my colleagues have voted to advance this bipartisan legislation. It is the best chance in a generation to make meaningful changes in our federal drug sentencing laws. We cannot waste it," Durbin said. "I look forward to debating this … Continue Reading


Durbin On First Step Act: Best Chance To Make Meaningful Changes In Our Federal Drug Sentencing Laws

WASHINGTON - In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today encouraged his Senate colleagues to support the revised First Step Act, bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation. Durbin, along with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the First Step Act last month, which combin… Continue Reading


Durbin Statement On For-Profit Vatterott College Closure

WASHINGTON-U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after Vatterott College, a for-profit college, announced its immediate closure: Another overcharging, underperforming for-profit college has closed its doors. It's the second major chain in just the last three weeks to abruptly close. And it won't be the last. With the collapse of Vatterott College, another 156 students in Illinois and 2,300 nationwide are left high and dry. Now it is the oblig… Continue Reading


Durbin, Duckworth, Emanuel Announce $1.48 Million for CTA Red Line Improvements

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced $1,480,000 in federal funding to support improvements for the Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) Red Line. The funding, awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), will support the planning of the proposed extension of the Red Line, connecting the 95th/Dan Ryan Terminal to 130th Street. "This grant funding will continue to help improve the CTA's infrastructure, whi… Continue Reading


Durbin, Duckworth To EPA: Don't Weaken Coal Ash Rule

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the agency to not weaken the federal regulation for the safe disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) or "coal ash", which protects drinking water, human health, and the environment. The 2015 rule established by the EPA sets minimum federal standards for coal ash disposal. Industry reports required under the 2015 rule show that coal ash disposa… Continue Reading


Durbin, Young Bill To Support Congenital Heart Defect Research Passes Senate

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Todd Young (R-IN) announced today that their bipartisan bill, the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act, unanimously passed the Senate. This legislation will promote federal research on congenital heart defects (CHD) and raise awareness of the impact these health problems have throughout patients' lives. The Senate-passed Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act increases the funding authorization level for the Centers for Disease Co… Continue Reading


Durbin Statement On Court Decision Striking Down Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON-U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after a federal judge in Texas issued a ruling finding the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional: After repeatedly trying and failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress, President Trump and his Republican allies have turned to right-wing activist judges to try to overturn this vital law. Instead of working to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions and ensure that all Americ… Continue Reading


Durbin Statement On Passage Of Sexual Harassment Bill

WASHINGTON-U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after Congress passed legislation to update and strengthen the procedures available to victims of harassment and discrimination and other violations of the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995. The bill now heads to President Trump for his signature. The alternatives available to victims of harassment and discrimination in Congress were in obvious need of reform. Thanks to the efforts of my co… Continue Reading


Durbin Statement On Senate Passage Of Resolution To Halt Unauthorized U.S. Military Involvement In Yemen

WASHINGTON-U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today voted for the bipartisan joint war powers resolution, of which he is a cosponsor, to end unauthorized U.S. military involvement in Yemen. The resolution passed the Senate 56-41. "The Constitution is clear - Article 1, Section 8 states 'The Congress shall have Power: To declare War.' But there was never a vote to authorize U.S. military involvement in the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen," Durbin said. "Not only was this war ne… Continue Reading


Durbin Pushes President Trump To Prioritize Addressing Chicago Gun Violence In Next Year's Budget

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to support strategies and programs that can help reduce gun violence in Chicago in his fiscal year 2020 budget request to Congress. Durbin pushed the President to prioritize federal resources across several grant programs, such as increased funding in housing and economic development, job training and youth programs, quality early childhood education, public health prevention and behavioral he… Continue Reading


Durbin, Duckworth, Kelly Statement On Report Of Additional Manganese Source In Southeast Chicago

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and U.S. Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL-02) today released the following statements after a Chicago Tribune report found that air monitors recorded dangerous levels of brain-damaging manganese at Watco Transloading on Chicago's Southeast Side. The members raised concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) failure to consistently hold companies accountable for violations of the Clean Air Act, and highlight… Continue Reading


Durbin: A Border Wall Will Not Reduce Cartel Violence Or Stop Fentanyl From Flooding Into Our Country

WASHINGTON-During a Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Mexican cartels, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today urged the Trump Administration to reduce brutal cartel violence and drug, gun, and human smuggling by deploying more technology and personnel at ports of entry, working to address the drug epidemic at home, stopping the weapons and cash that flow south to cartels, and collaborating more effectively with regional nations to strengthen their economies and decrease the cartel … Continue Reading


Senate & House Lawmakers Release Updated First Step Act

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers today released revised text of the First Step Act to continue building support for criminal justice reform. This update was brokered by the White House and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers of Congress. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan have pledged to take up the revised package before the end of the year. Last month, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman … Continue Reading


Senate Passes Durbin, Duckworth Resolution Honoring Victims Of Shooting At Mercy Hospital

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced that the Senate has unanimously passed a resolution honoring the memory of the victims of last month's shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, in which a gunman killed Chicago Police Department Officer Samuel Jimenez, Dr. Tamara O'Neal, and Dayna Less. "Officer Jimenez, Dr. O'Neal, and Ms. Less were all doing work that mattered - and mattered greatly. All three were dedicated to helping others - Officer Jimenez … Continue Reading


Senate Passes Durbin, Roberts Legislation To Support Rural EMS Agencies As Part Of Final Farm Bill

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) applauded Senate passage of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill, which includes their bill to reauthorize a federal grant program that directly supports rural emergency medical services (EMS) agencies in training and recruiting staff, conducting courses to satisfy certification requirements, and purchasing equipment-for everything from naloxone and first aid kits, to power stretchers o… Continue Reading


Durbin: Democrats Want Border Security, But Will Not Support Administration's Hardline Anti-Immigrant Agenda

WASHINGTON-U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today rebuked President Donald Trump's claims that Democrats "do not want border security." During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, Durbin reminded Commissioner McAleenan that earlier this year, a bipartisan majority of the Senate supported Durbin's bipartisan immigration and border security agreement but it failed to reach the 60 votes it needed because of t… Continue Reading


Durbin, Reed, Leahy, Schatz Press Secretary Mattis On Plans To Build Barriers Along Arizona Border

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Vice Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee; Jack Reed (D-RI), Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee: Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee; and Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ranking Member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee today pressed Secretary of Defense James Mattis about planned activities on the Barry M. Goldwater Range near Yuma, Arizona, including buildin… Continue Reading


Durbin, Takano, Carper, Cohen Call On Department Of Education To Protect Military And Veteran Students

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Representative Mark Takano (D-CA-41), U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN-09), and six of their colleagues today sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urging the Department of Education to protect military and veteran students by publishing, as part of the federal 90/10 rule, the amount and percentage of revenue received by for-profit colleges from all federal educational programs. The 90/10 rule … Continue Reading

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